Boy Scouts to admit gay members but not leaders?

The Boy Scouts of America will propose a change to their policies that will admit gay members but still not allow gay scout leaders.  Is that a good compromise?  Gay activists are attacking the proposal, insisting that the scouts also allow for gay leaders.  The organization will vote on the proposal in May.

From Reuters:

The Boy Scouts of America on Friday moved to partially lift its long-standing ban on gays, with a decision that would allow openly gay youth members but continue to bar gay adults in one of the largest youth serving organizations in America.

If the resolution is approved in a nationwide vote in May, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” Deron Smith, the organization’s spokesman, told Reuters.

The report found religious groups linked to the Scouts were concerned with homosexual adult leaders not with youth and concluded “a change in the membership policy specific to youth only would be consistent with the religious beliefs of the BSA’s major chartered organizations.”

Gay rights groups want the ban lifted for youth and adults and the proposal immediately drew criticism.

“By refusing to consider an end to its ban on gay and lesbian parents, the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership and usher the organization back to relevancy,” said Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications at GLAAD, which promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

via Boy Scouts propose lifting ban on gays, but only for youth | Reuters.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Grace

    “If the resolution is approved in a nationwide vote in May, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” Deron Smith, the organization’s spokesman, told Reuters.”

    This is the moment to turn away from the “Boy Scouts” take heed, our sons, and grandsons are more important than a club, which includes those who are homosexual, along with the unknowing kids whose parents don’t pay attention.

    No one needs to send their sons to the Boy Scouts, there are plenty of great organizations, through churches who espouse Christian teaching, values and those things which are pleasing to God.

    Be assured, you have lost nothing by skipping the Boy Scouts ( BS for shorthand ) it serves no purpose today. It no longer holds the same values.

  • fjsteve

    Horrible idea, in my opinion, if they’re trying to hold to their convictions. So an openly gay kid can join up, devote several years to the club, become an Eagle Scout, but not be allowed to become a leader? It’s clearly not fair to him as a Scout and the public reaction to that fairness factor will be the death knell to the whole policy in just a few short years.

    On the other hand, if they’re trying to make the idea of gay scout leaders more palatable to their members, this is a great idea.

  • Grace

    fjsteve

    ” So an openly gay kid can join up, devote several years to the club, become an Eagle Scout, but not be allowed to become a leader? It’s clearly not fair to him as a Scout and the public reaction to that fairness factor will be the death knell to the whole policy in just a few short years.”

    YEP, that’s it -

    A kid can come to a church, belong to the youth group, memorize Scripture, and he still will never be a member of the church, hold a position as teacher or Elder. Did you know that fjsteve, or is this the first time you’ve learned this truth about churches who DO NOT agree with homosexuality?

    “On the other hand, if they’re trying to make the idea of gay scout leaders more palatable to their members, this is a great idea.”

    Why is that OK fjsteve? — It really is a no starter, as more and more parents are brought into the mix of real understanding of the homosexual community -

    Do you find this whole idea intertaining? IF so, which part?

  • fjsteve

    Grace,

    Your first post isn’t a valid comparison. You don’t have to be a member of a church to attend–even for several years. Of course, it’s easier to do in non-denominational churches but that’s a point for another time. You DO have to be a member to be a Scout.

    Regarding your second post, how did you interpret that statement as meaning I thought anything about this is okay? Didn’t you see my opening statement?

  • Paul Reed

    Another group caves…are you a your children prepared to live in an America hostile to Christianity? Because it’s coming quickly.

  • Matt Jamison

    One of the things I loved about Boy Scouts is that it was a shelter from all the sexual pressure and confusion that was part of junior high school. I don’t think anyone should be quizzing 11-18 year old boys about their sexual preferences. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” can be a pretty good policy since Scouting is profoundly not about sex. But allowing proudly “out” scouts or leaders into the organization is a bad idea. Also, is there no freedom of association to join with others who share our social values?

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    Old scout here, and I’m ok with this compromise. I like the don’t ask, don’t tell approach, though.

    But there is history behind not allowing gay leaders, and I think the concerns are still valid.

  • fws

    I am unclear why they have to have any policies like this at all. Any policies should be about behaviors and not about who someone is.

  • Len Stadler

    Scout Oath:
    “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
    To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

    The Boy Scouts of America might also want to change their oath by changing to a small “g” in God and deleting the homophobic term “morally straight”.

  • http://www.LutherWasNotBornAgain. Gary

    The Boy Scouts is a secular organization. Its oath mentions a generic “God”, not Jesus Christ, God the Father, or God the Holy Spirit. In the end, the Boy Scouts will want to survive, so it will change to reflect the moral values of the surrounding society.

    Let this be a lesson for Christian Churches. Stand firm in our 2,000 year old, never changing Faith. The surrounding culture should never dictate changes to our doctrine or our position on sin and immorality.

  • Steve Bauer

    That’s right. We sure don’t want “sinners” weaseling their way into our churches.

  • Len Stadler

    Gary,

    “When error is admitted into the Church, it will be found that the stages of its progress are always three.
    1. It begins by asking toleration. Its friends say to the majority: You need not be afraid of us; we are few, and weak; only let us alone; we shall not disturb the faith of others. The Church has her standards of doctrine; of course we shall never interfere with them; we only ask for ourselves to be spared interference with our private opinions.
    2. Indulged in this for a time, error goes on to assert equal rights. Truth and error are two balancing forces. The Church shall do nothing which looks like deciding between them; that would be partiality. It is bigotry to assert any superior right for the truth. We are to agree to differ and any favoring of the truth, because it is truth, is partisanship. What the friends of truth and error hold in common is fundamental. Anything on which they differ is ipso facto non-essential. Anybody who makes account of such a thing is a disturber of the peace of the church. Truth and error are two co-ordinate powers, and the great secret of church-statesmanship is to preserve the balance between them.
    3. From this point error soon goes on to its natural end, which is to assert supremacy. Truth started with tolerating; it comes to be merely tolerated and that only for a time. Error claims a preference for its judgments on all disputed points. It puts men into position, not as at first in spite of their departure from the Church’s faith, but in consequence of it. Their recommendation is that they repudiate that faith, and position is given them to teach others to repudiate it, and make them skillful in combating it.”

    “THE CONSERVATIVE REFORMATION AND ITS THEOLOGY” (pp. 195-196) by Charles Porterfield Krauth, D.D. (1823-1883).

    It is not only the Church that has admitted this error. The world also has fallen for it.

  • helen

    Steve @ 11
    What makes you think that anything other than sinners are in our churches?

    “Boys but not leaders” is a lie that will last a couple of years, until the gay boys become leaders.”
    The Mormons, who run their own show, will not buy this and they are the single biggest group in BSA. [They may buy up some of the National Scouting sites, when Scouting goes down the tube.]

    It was a good thing.
    Thanks for the memories, BSA.

  • FWS

    len @ 12

    That´s right.
    Old Adam: “We are saved by grace alone, but… we need to do our part. it is a very, very small part. It is like a drop in the ocean of what Christ has done.

    Then this story like of Old Adam progresses just as you and sasse describe: We admit persons into the church or exclude them based upon what it is they do or fail to do.

  • DonS

    Well, clearly, whatever you think of it, this “compromise” won’t stand. It is merely a way station toward the ultimate policy of full accommodation.

    The travesty here is not so much in what the particular policies of a private organization are, but that it is government which is largely driving this effort to force that organization to change its policies. This is being done by denying access to public accommodations, or by prohibitively pricing that access, which as previously been cheap or free. Non-profit tax status is also being stripped in certain jurisdictions. At the same time, other organizations with similar functions and objectives, but policies the government likes better are continuing to be favorably treated.

    Government owns far too many public accommodations, and has grown comfortable with using that ownership as a weapon against those opposed by officials in power. Taxes are so insidious that it is easy to punish people or organizations having disagreeable policies. The sooner the people recognize that this is a bad trend, and that this kind of power needs to be stripped from government, the more free we all will be.

  • sg

    I am unclear why they have to have any policies like this at all. Any policies should be about behaviors and not about who someone is.

    I wonder when the policy became explicit. I doubt it was part of the original bylaws or whatever. I mean, there is the ‘morally straight’ oath, but that is pretty vague as is the ‘God’ that is invoked.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    When the BSA holds their pennies-on-the-dollar fire sale to liquidate assets after losing nearly all support for the organization, I plan to bid on Philmont…

  • Aaron Root

    Sad, sad, sad. I’m sure there are some voting members of the national council who actually believe this compromise will protect BSA from the further progress of the camel into the tent. Alas, these members are a special kind of stupid.
    The policy will last only days after it goes live; then the first openly gay eagle scout to turn 18 will submit his application as a junior ass’t scoutmaster, and it’s curtains. Surely this was the plan all along.
    As the dad of two active scouts, I grieve over my family’s limited options.

  • sg

    Have you ever noticed how building starts at the bottom and destruction starts at the top?

    Why didn’t gays build their own organization?

    The Mormons built their own stuff. The Amish built their own stuff.

    It is easy to destroy and hard to build.

  • fws

    Sg @19
    that assumes that gays are some monolithic group, or discreetly identifiable group.
    what you said is like saying this:
    “whites need to form their own group.”
    and it should be similarly offensive.

    there is a dishonest use of language here.
    you have convictions. Gays have an agenda. You have a life. Gays have a lifestyle.
    this is just prejudice.

  • sg

    fws, I guess I wasn’t clear. Folks have always split off and gone in similar but somewhat different directions. Look at Girl Scouts. They didn’t join Boy Scouts. Folks built a separate but somewhat similar group. Same with all the religious splinters, and non profit groups. Rather than get into a group that specifically didn’t want X, they just started a new group. How is that not a win win? Look at Catholic Charities and UNICEF. They do some similar work but they can’t reconcile their differences, so the UN folks started UNICEF so they could focus on doing what they saw as important and do it their way.

  • http://od FWS

    too broad a brush sg.
    why did they do that?
    why separate drinking fountains and swimming pools? why shouldnt blacks just go and form their own stuff and leave whites to have what they have?
    or, one could drive it in the direction you did.

    your argument can be applied in so many ways that it is really quite a meaningless one.

    Context and history do kind of matter. only a few years ago, gays were imprisoned, given lobotomies and sterilized, etc etc

    Gays pay taxes and want to just be treated the same as any one else.
    based upon what they do. not who they are.
    Usually that is how justice works.

    Why not?

  • Julian

    GLAAD’s statement is self-refuting. If the Boy Scouts are irrelevant, why are so many hip, relevant people trying to join the club?

  • Grace

    Julian @ 23

    “If the Boy Scouts are irrelevant, why are so many hip, relevant people trying to join the club?”

    “hip” no, it’s not.

    I have no idea where you live – where we are located, the Boy Scouts is not a popular organization. The churches have organized clubs for girls and boys. Leaders are not homosexuals.

  • http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com Gary

    For me this issue isn’t about the morality of homosexuality. It is about the safety of my children. I would never let my daughter go on an overnight camping trip with a heterosexual male scout leader, just as I would not want my son to go on an overnight camping trip with a homosexual male scout leader. Men, gay or straight, are men. Blame it on God, evolution, the hormone testosterone, or what ever you want, but most sexual predators are men. I don’t want my children alone with a man who is attracted to my child’s gender even if he is not a pedophile. I would never hire a man, straight or gay, to babysit my children for the same reason.

    That isn’t bigotry, that’s just being a good parent!

  • Grace

     ‏

     ‏ Gary @ 25

     ‏ You deserve a gold ☆ for your post –

      NO one can be too careful with their children. There is so much abberant sexual
      behavior today. It a shame, but true.‏

     

  • sg

    “why shouldnt blacks just go and form their own stuff and leave whites to have what they have?”

    The short answer is, they did. They built their own banks and stores and farms and all kinds of stuff in their own communities. I don’t note this fact to defend du jure segregation, only to point out that those who can, do. They weren’t going to wait around for someone to give them opportunities. They made their own. Desegregation actually increased white owned businesses’ market share while decreasing black owned businesses’ market share. Some groups are happy to only have to deal with their own while other groups desperately want to be included in groups others build. Kind of like guys never want to join women’s groups, but women often want to join men’s groups. Gays likely do own and operate businesses and groups that cater to gays. Those groups just aren’t kids’ clubs.

  • FWS

    sg @ 27
    Ah. I get you now. Do you know that most gays recollect that they were gay as early as they can remember? All gays start out as gay kids.

    Kids don´t get to start their own organizations. Adults must do that for them sg.

  • sg

    @28

    Right. Which is why the Boy Scouts, or any kids group, should be focusing on kids being kids and developing skills etc., not worrying about sexuality. Even if a kid is gay or thinks he may be, that is not what the group is about. By having a policy against it, they are trying to stay on message. They don’t want to end up like public schools, which do address sexual issues. One of the nice things about boy scouts or even baseball, etc., is that it is all guys so you know it is not going to have a sexual temptation aspect to it. Same for girls. A bunch of girls getting together for dance team or slumber party or whatever make parents feel comfortable because it is all girls, no boys.


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